AUSTIN (KXAN) — Ahead of the anticipated launch of the UT Health Austin specialty clinics Tuesday, KXAN got a first look at the new facilities Sunday. The clinics are run by Dell Medical School at UT Austin, and everyone in the medical school — from new students, to residents, to faculty — has the opportunity to help in offering this care for the Austin community.
Starting Oct.17, the clinic will offer:
- Women’s health services, helping women with pelvic floor issues and gynecological conditions.
- Orthopedics services, offering medical and surgical care to help those with bone and muscle conditions, from sports injuries, to arthritis, to joint replacement.
- Neuroscience services, including coordinated care for back pain.
- Work Life Health Solutions, helping employers to offer care for non-acute workplace injuries.
In the months to come, the neurosciences clinic will also offer services for those with multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and bipolar disorder.
The launch of these clinics is something UT Austin President Greg Fenves calls “a big deal.”
Dr. Amy Young, who is the chair for Women’s Health at Dell Medical School, said that each day the UT Austin Health specialty clinics can hold several hundred patients. Young said Dell Medical School chose which areas to focus on based on needs in the Austin and Travis County communities. She and her colleagues looked at claims data to understand what percentage of insured and uninsured women were getting care in the areas they are offering.
“We’d like to take care of as many people as we can who suffer from these conditions in Central Texas and beyond,” she said.
When patients arrive at the clinics, they are directed immediately into waiting rooms because the goal is to get paperwork done beforehand and cut down on wait time for patients, Young said. UT Austin Health hopes to make health care more tailored to patients needs, and to the needs of medical providers who face an increasingly demanding workplace.
“When you’re a patient and you go into a beautiful new facility that’s been really organized around a new care model just to enhance the care for you as an individual, I think it’s a huge step forward and I think it’s a unique and novel thing compared to what happens in most medical schools, ” Young said. “Most medical schools would have to retrofit something like this, and for us to be able to build something like this from the ground up has really been a huge advantage.”
“We’re able to sort of minimize the ping-ponging around that happens a lot of times with patients, and also [the] misinformation that happens with the telephone game,” Young added.
By bringing medical professionals straight to patients and by housing multiple medical professionals in one building, UT Health Austin hopes to cut down on costs for patients. Young explained that in women’s health for example, they will be able to provide the type of care on site that would normally be provided at an inpatient hospital.
Another aspect of these clinics that’s different from what patients may be used to: A focus on what Dell Medical School refers to as “patient reported outcomes,” in other words, putting patients’ goals first.
“So it’s not just measures of what I think is a positive outcomes for the patient, it’s what the patient determines as a positive outcome,” Young said.
Dell Medical School has a unique responsibility to give back to the Austin community. In 2012, Travis County voters passed a proposition to increase the tax rate and invest in strengthening health care delivery in the community. Dell Medical School, Central Health and the Community Care Collaborative approved an agreement in 2014 which transfers $35 million each year to Dell Medical School. The medical school reports that since the proposition passed, the number of medical residents working on Austin clinics and hospitals has increased by 30 percent, and is expected to increase in the future.
Young sees these clinics as part of that vision to improve health care for the Austin and Travis County community.
People interested in services with the clinic can call 1-833-UTCARES or visit the UT Health Austin website.